The Call

Flatland KC

As the movement for equal rights grew during WWII, an internal struggle was underway among black publications to see who would be the voice of African Americans. 

In 1941, representatives from black publications around the nation gathered to form The National Negro Publishers Association, now called the National Newspaper Publishers Association, of which The Kansas City Call was a founding member.

The Call, Kansas City's prominent black newspaperwas established in 1919 by Chester A. Franklin. Its managing editor was Lucile Bluford.

Paul Andrews

Eric Wesson of The Kansas City Call says that Kansas City's black community is like Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man

"I am a man of substance," wrote Ellison's invisible narrator, "of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids -- I may even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me."

Wesson read those words for the first time in sixth grade, but didn't relate to them until he was in his 20s, at which point, he said to himself, 'Oh, I get it. We're here, but nobody sees us or pays attention to us.'"

Paul Sableman / Flickr

LaShonda Katrice Barnett remembers going out with a quarter to buy the latest issue of The Call for her grandmother. Now, Barnett has written a novel about the trailblazing founder of a fictional African-American newspaper called Jam on the Vine. If it resembles The Call, that's no coincidence. 


  • LaShonda Katrice Barnett, author, Jam on the Vine

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Many people in Kansas City remember Lucile Bluford as the long-time managing editor of The Call, one of the nation's oldest African American newspapers. But some may not realize the role she played challenging segregation at the University of Missouri's Journalism School in 1939.